Warsaw (Mar. 25)
Thousands of Polish Jews are going to Palestine as tourists, Mr. Leon Levite, the President of the Polish Section of the Jewish Agency and President of the Polish-Palestine Chamber of Commerce, said in addressing a gathering of press representatives here.
The Polish-Palestine Chamber of Commerce initiated this movement, he continued, but its success has exceeded all our expectations. We asked the Ministry of Finance for reductions for 1,250 passports, thinking that it would be enough. But 2,200 tourists have already gone to Palestine and each day delegations come to us asking us to organise fresh parties. On all sides people are anxious to go out to Palestine. There are not enough ships to carry them. It is not only the so-called middle-class that are going, but also a number of wealthy merchants and industrialists who are travelling not as ordinary tourists, but who come to ask us for information and then travel first class. The same thing is happening also in other countries. In America, for example, three ships packed with tourists have already left for Palestine.
People must be short-sighted not to see that this urge to Palestine is not an ordinary tourist movement, but the beginning and the symptom of a new big Palestine immigration movement, Mr. Levite said. All these tourists are not
going to Palestine only to see the Holy Land. They are going because they are driven there by the economic position of the Jews in other countries. They are not going for amusement, but to spy out the land and to see what the possibilities are for settlement there. They are the vanguard of the new immigration movement.
It is true that the prospects of the new immigration movement are much better than they were at the time of the Fourth Aliyah in 1925, Mr. Levite proceeded. At that time, the country was little prepared for suddenly absorbing a large number of new immigrants. But now the position has changed for the better in many regards. The means of communication are better. There are Rutenberg’s electric works. The orange plantations have been trebled.
But there are also certain dangers in the situation, Mr. Levite said. A sudden rush of immigration to Palestine without the ground being first carefully prepared would be calamitous not only for the new immigrants, but for the whole Yishub. The new Aliyah must proceed cautiously to prevent a repetition of the catastrophe which followed the Fourth Aliyah in 1925.
The Jewish Agency in Poland is now considering what measures can be taken to guide this new Palestine immigration movement and to keep it within bounds. The great thing is not to hurry, not to go out with false hopes, not to create illusions.
Too much expectation should not be placed in the new concession reducing the amount which immigrants with means are required to possess from Â£1,000 to Â£500, Mr. Levite continued. People must not forget that this concession is hedged round with many restrictions. It is very doubtful whether Â£500 is enough for settling in Palestine. Small manufacturer and artisans have the best prospects in Palestine. Its industry is gradually conquering the Near East market and a great deal can be done in this field. But even here there must not be a rush of immigration to Palestine. The Jewish Agency in Poland is in constant touch with the Jewish Agency in Palestine with regard to this question. An information bureau has been set up in Palestine under the direction of Mr. Emanuel Neumann, which will supply information to intending immigrants concerning the openings for settlement in the country. An information bureau will also be opened shortly by the Jewish Agency in Poland. The work must be conducted systematically and with all possible caution, Mr. Levite concluded. The immigration movement must be regulated. The stream must be held in check. Only people who have sufficient capital, and are able to engage in industry, artisanship, agriculture or orange planting should go out to Palestine, or people who have the necessary expert knowledge and qualifications. The immigrants must be carefully selected, in the interests of the welfare of both those who are going out to Palestine, and of the entire Jewish settlement in Palestine.